Figure 1. Gratuitious Daryl Dixon shot.

Figure 1. Gratuitious Daryl Dixon shot.


One thing you have to understand about me is that I’m a princess.

Not a girly princess, though. I don’t want to wear ball gowns or get my nails done or drink pink wines or talk about my dream wedding. I don’t want flowers or diamonds or Pandora bracelets or dinners at fancy restaurants where the tablecloths are white and the menu is French. I don’t do yoga or spin classes or wear statement necklaces or any of that shit.

But I’m still a princess. I believe it’s my husband’s job to mow the lawn, take our kid Trick or Treating, shovel the driveway, fix everything related to the car. I don’t want my grey hair to show. I spend a lot of money on cosmetics and toiletries.

I don’t like camping or hiking. I don’t recreate outdoors. I don’t like the icky feeling of dry dirt in my hands so gardening’s not my fave (though tolerable; I like growing food, see.)

I don’t push myself to do uncomfortable things very often. I don’t see the point of most personal discomfort. And I think about my looks pretty much 24/7.

Therefore I’m a princess.

Therefore I hate home remodeling.

Now, I don’t need my house to look perfect. I don’t like cleaning it and I’m a pretty crappy housewife. I don’t like decorating, either. We did this remodel so that my extroverted husband could have friends over more (our house was tiny) and so that we could have a dining room table (also for having people hang out in more comfort, including ourselves). But I’m not very good at visualizing anything spatially and I don’t like to waste my creative time on decorating shit. I’m not crafty or artistic. I just kind of want my house to be set-up and then that’s it. To paraphrase the narrator in Fight Club – I just wanted to settle the sofa question and then move on.

Which was why the previous iteration of our house drove me nuts. I was always having to rearrange the furniture, hoping for a more comfortable affect, and it never worked. The answer, unfortunately, was building an entirely new upper level.

Of course, it wasn’t that simple. Of course, my husband had no job when he embarked on the demolition. And then, when the roof was off, he got a job. And then, because if you’re going to bother to rip your roof off, you might as well re-wire and re-plumb and re-duct-workify so that you can have central air and a tankless water heater and a better basement layout and and and and…

I told Adrian at first I didn’t want to know the details of the remodel. That didn’t work.

Then I told him I wanted to know more stuff. “Need to know basis,” I said. That has worked a tiny bit better.

But he has so many things swirling around in his brain, I’d need a 3-hour Monday morning debrief to catch it all. And it’d be subject to change, too, given that he gets most of our materials on Craigslist and that availability makes everything cycle and revise itself hourly.

The fact is, I was told we’d be upstairs by end of October. It is now January. We’re still not upstairs. We’re still crammed into two rooms off a kitchen and bathroom. It’s like tenement living or something. Our dog is losing his mind due to the rearrangement of his food dish and the unpredictability and loudness of power tools. My handbag routinely is full of sawdust. My coats live on nails we’ve pounded into the studs and our kitchen table is covered in old flyers from Harbor Freight Tools and cordless drills and cans of epoxy. Right now the living room has PVC piping arranged by size all over the floor. And as of this weekend, our bathroom no longer has a door.

In the middle of all this shit, I had my gall-bladder removed, my first book launched, my husband got a new job, we had both the gross holidays I cannot stand (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and cold snaps that frosted over our windows (furnace not fully functional yet) which made showering in the morning a bracing experience reminding me of my college days in Latin America.

I cannot think of any more crap that could happen to us. Well, I suppose I could. I just hate living like this. I hate having to clean up a house that is by definition a dump. I hate that I can’t get into the shipping container in our driveway because the doors are blocked by snow and our artificial Christmas tree is sitting outside, fully assembled, covered in snow, probably rusting. I hate sawdust in my wallet. I hate sleeping on a futon. I hate finding nails all over the floor and I hate people asking me ‘how’s the remodeling going?’ and I hate spending money constantly on crap at Home Depot and never seeing anything change except for the worse.

I hate that we have no privacy.

I hate that my kid has limited space to play.

I hate that we can’t have anyone over.

I hate cooking off a hot plate.

I hate the long tunnel of discomfort and hassle that I’m looking down at the moment. I can’t see anything else.

Everything sucks when your home isn’t one.




One Comment

  • Jodi on Jan 21, 2014 Reply

    I hope you realize that when Disney inevitably turns this into a movie and Princess Carrie is right next to Ariel and Aurora and Cinderella that the Academy-award winning song will be called “When Your Home Isn’t One.”

    Kelly Clarkson will sing it.

    Also, your patience re: remodeling is admirable. I’d have wanted to burn the shit to the ground for the insurance money by September.

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